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Race & Ethnicity

41 years on-air and SNL finally hired a Latina cast member. Yeah, that matters.

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Melissa Villasenor

This is an important milestone because representation in media matters. It has an impact in the real world, beyond the screen.

Ally Hirschlag, Upworthy

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What does it take?

In earnest,

Dave & the Crew 

Sprockets. GIF from "Saturday Night Live."https://i.upworthy.com/nugget/57d80d80a55d8f002200017e/attachments/giphy-9cfa48e7f46c64486a797f934ea12714.gif?auto=format&fit=max&ixjsv=2.2.3&ixlib=rb-0.3.5&w=730

September 13, 2016 | "Saturday Night Live" just hired its first-ever Latina cast member, so now's the time on Sprockets when we dance!

But seriously, folks, this is huge wonderful news that's been a LONG time coming. In its 41 years on air, SNL has only had two Latino cast members: Horatio Sanz and Fred Armisen.

The long-awaited addition of a Latina cast member shows the landscape of racial diversity on television is slowly but surely widening.

Ally Hirschlag: My desire to find and celebrate the many good things people are doing in this world led me to writing. If you're fighting for gender equality, to help our furry friends, and to save our planet, we should hang out. When I'm not writing, I'm usually making up silly voices or yelling at my TV.

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A Pipeline Fight and America's Dark Past

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  • The events at Standing Rock also allow Americans to realize who some of the nation’s most important leaders really are. The fight for environmental sanity—against pipelines and coal ports and other fossil-fuel infrastructure—has increasingly been led by Native Americans, many of whom are in that Dakota camp today. They speak with real authority—no one else has lived on this continent for the longterm. They see the nation’s history more clearly than anyone else, and its possible future as well. 
  • For once, after all these centuries, it’s time to look through their eyes. History offers us no chances to completely erase our mistakes. Occasionally, though, we do get a chance to show we learned something.

Bill McKibbenNew Yorker Magazine

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http://www.newyorker.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/McKibben-Standing-Rock-Sioux-Pipeline-1200.jpg Protesters at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, in North Dakota, on Saturday. Photograph By Robyn Beck / AFP /Getty

 

September 6, 2016 | This week, thousands of Native Americans, from more than a hundred tribes, have camped out on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, which straddles the border between the Dakotas, along the Missouri River. What began as a slow trickle of people a month ago is now an increasingly angry flood. They’re there to protest plans for a proposed oil pipeline that they say would contaminate the reservation’s water; in fact, they’re calling themselves protectors, not protesters.

Their foe, most directly, is the federal government, in particular the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has approved a path for the pipeline across the Missouri under a “fast track” option called Permit 12. That’s one reason the Dakota Access Pipeline, as it’s known, hasn’t received the attention that, say, the Keystone XL Pipeline did, even though the pipe is about the same length. Originally, the pipeline was supposed to cross the Missouri near Bismarck, but authorities worried that an oil spill there would have wrecked the state capital’s drinking water. So they moved the crossing to half a mile from the reservation, across land that was taken from the tribe in 1958, without their consent. The tribe says the government hasn’t done the required consultation with them—if it had, it would have learned that building the pipeline there would require digging up sacred spots and old burial grounds.

Bill McKibben, a former New Yorker staff writer, is the founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org and the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in environmental studies at Middlebury College. His most recent book is Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.

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The Average Black Family Would Need 228 Years to Build the Wealth of a White Family Today

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Just as past public policies created the racial wealth gap, current policy widens it.

Joshua Holland, the Nation

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https://www.thenation.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/racial_wealthgap_rtr_img.jpg In line to attend the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. career fair held by the New York State Department of Labor. (Reuters / Lucas Jackson)

August 8, 2016 | If current economic trends continue, the average black household will need 228 years to accumulate as much wealth as their white counterparts hold today. For the average Latino family, it will take 84 years. Absent significant policy interventions, or a seismic change in the American economy, people of color will never close the gap.

Those are the key findings of a new study of the racial wealth-gap released this week by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and the Corporation For Economic Development (CFED). They looked at trends in household wealth from 1983 to 2013—a 30-year period that captured the rise of Reaganomics, expanded international trade and two major financial crashes fueled by bubbles in the tech sector and housing prices. The authors found that the average wealth of white households increased by 84 percent during those three decades, three times the gains African-American families saw and 1.2 times the rate of growth for Latino families.

To put that in perspective, the wealthiest Americans—members of the Forbes 400 list—saw their net worths increase by 736 percent during that period, on average.

Joshua Holland is a contributor to the Nation <https://www.thenation.com> and a fellow with The Nation Institute. He's also the host of Politics and Reality Radio.

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The Roots of Unrest in Milwaukee, WI

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  • The growth of poverty and inequality, the eruption of social anger, and the build-up of the police forces are interrelated components of the same class dynamic.
  • “The reality is that … this is a city where there are 27,000 households that have an income less than $10,000,” said Howard Fuller, a longtime civil rights activist and former Milwaukee schools superintendent who lives one block from the BP gas station that was burned during the unrest Saturday night.
  • Part 1: The social roots of unrest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Part 2: Why Milwaukee boiled over with violence after police shooting death

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

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Part 1: The social roots of unrest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The growth of poverty and inequality, the eruption of social anger and the build-up of the police forces are interrelated components of the same class dynamic.

Niles Niemuth, World Socialist Website

https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://img.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_960w/2010-2019/Wires/Images/2016-08-14/AP/Officer_Involved_Shooting_Milwaukee-8ccfd.jpg&w=1484 The location where Sylville Smith was fatally shot Saturday by police in Milwaukee. (Jeffrey Phelps/AP)

16 August 2016 | Once again deeply rooted social anger has boiled over in an American city against police violence. This time protests erupted in the Sherman Park neighborhood of Milwaukee, Wisconsin following the killing of 23-year-old African American Sylville K. Smith by an as yet unidentified African American police officer Saturday afternoon.

Approximately 100 people gathered Saturday night to protest near where Smith was killed. The night ended with a handful of nearby businesses looted as well as a gas station, a bank branch and an auto parts store torched. A handful of cop cars and other vehicles were damaged or destroyed. The police arrested 31 people during protests Saturday and Sunday night.

Niles Niemuth is the 2016 US vice presidential candidate of the Socialist Equality Party and a writer for World Socialist Web Site.

Full story … 



Part 2: Why Milwaukee boiled over with violence after police shooting death

“The reality is that … this is a city where there are 27,000 households that have an income less than $10,000,” said Howard Fuller, a longtime civil rights activist and former Milwaukee schools superintendent who lives one block from the BP gas station that was burned during the unrest Saturday night.

Wesley Lowery, Washington (DC) Post

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August 16, 2016 | After two nights of violent clashes between police and residents following a fatal police shooting of a young black man, Police Chief Ed Flynn stepped to the microphone late Monday night to declare a small victory.

“We’ve seen great improvement over yesterday,” Flynn said. The night had produced 10 arrests, but no rioting or property damage after officials instituted a 10 p.m. curfew. “This community is not interested in doing damage to where they live,” he said.

Wesley Lowery is a national reporter covering law enforcement and justice for the Washington Post. He previously covered Congress and national politics.

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The Fire This Time

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  • I know. You want me to say something profound, the hard thing. You want me to say something passionate, something to rally you, something to make you feel like there is hope, and that we’re going to change.
  • But that’s not what this piece is about.
  • Related: A Post-Dallas Challenge for Religious Progressives: Staying On Message About Structural Racism

Anthea Butler, Religion Dispatches

http://religiondispatches.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Screen-Shot-2016-07-09-at-8.38.54-PM.jpg Mural of Alton Sterling painted at convenience store near where he was killed.

July 10, 2016 | Three years ago this month, I wrote about America’s racist god. As a result of the threats I received, I had to move from a place I loved. I got used to being called a nigger, and to having my university and department faculty barraged by white racists calling for me to be fired.

Three years later, and after countless black deaths by police, I find myself being asked by the editors here at RD to write about the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and about the five policemen shot and killed in Dallas.

Anthea Butler is a Contributing Editor to Religion Dispatches. Her forthcoming book, The Gospel According To Sarah: How Sarah Palinin’s Tea Party Angels are Galvanizing the Religious Right' (came) out in 2013.

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http://religiondispatches.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Storm-690x464.jpg "It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake." 

A Post-Dallas Challenge for Religious Progressives: Staying On Message About Structural Racism, Peter Laarman, Religion Dispatches

We progressive clergy types and theology professors say that we “get” all this. Well and good. But now, more than ever before, our teaching ministry is urgently needed in the public square. It must be an uncompromising and courageous ministry. No false equivalence between centuries of anti-Black police abuse and the actions of a single madman in Dallas. No mincing of words about the ongoing need to shake the very foundations of white supremacy.

 

From Obama's election to 'Black Lives Matter' — how?

  • The same poverty. The same criminal-justice system. What can honestly be said to have changed in the lives of young African-Americans? 
  • Related: The movement will not be criminalized

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune  

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http://stmedia.startribune.com/images/610*425/rap072313a.jpg Photo: Kristin Pelisek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MCT

August 1, 2016 | Eight years ago, at the dawn of the Obama era, pundits seriously debated whether the election of the nation’s first black president would mark an end to the country’s long history of racial inequality. Weeks after Obama was elected, Forbes Magazine jubilantly published an editorial headlined “Racism in America Is Over.” While few others went quite so far, 7 out of 10 Americans did believe that “race relations” would improve as a result of the Obama presidency.

What happened? How did we get from the optimism of Barack Obama’s presidential run to the eruption of a protest movement calling itself Black Lives Matter? Perhaps the optimism itself is to blame, or rather the contrast between Obama’s promise and the reality of his tenure.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is the author of “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation” and professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University. Taylor wrote this article for the Los Angeles Times.

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Related:

The movement will not be criminalized, Janae Bonsu, People's World

http://www.peoplesworld.org/assets/Uploads/polieshootings530x310.jpgPhoto: Riot police arrest a nurse protesting peacefully in Baton Rouge.  |  Max Becherer/AP

  • Alton Sterling - just like with Tanisha Anderson and countless others - lost their lives after police were called. We have no other choice than to be more vigilant than ever - not only in our resistance, but in our commitment to building an abolitionist future in our everyday lives. We have to be unyielding in our right to resist, and brave, imaginative, and bold enough to interrogate all the ways in which we don't have to rely on police; we have to increasingly rely on, love, support, and protect each other. Our lives depend on it.
  • Related: From the Archives | The Bandwagon of Hate: America’s Cancer

 

Why We Fail When We Try to Talk About Race in America

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  • Let’s acknowledge the self-deception at the heart of our racial theater.
  • Related: 11 Common Ways White Folks Avoid Taking Responsibility for Racism in the US

Eddie Glaude, Moyers & Company

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http://dy00k1db5oznd.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/GettyImages-545482036-1024x682.jpgAbout 2,000 New Yorkers marched in Manhattan, bringing traffic to a halt for hours in a demonstration demanding police accountability and remembering Delrawn Small, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the three men recently shot dead by police. (Photo by Erik Mcgregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Editor%20Comment%20graphic_0.jpg Moyers & Company Editor's Note: We asked a number of contributors to share their reactions to a post by activist and author Michelle Alexander that we published earlier this month in the aftermath of the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Here is a response from Eddie Glaude, author of Democracy in Black. You can view all other responses by clicking on the building a new America” tag.

July 19, 2016 | Conversations about race in the United States fall short of their stated aims. We declare, usually after some horrific event, that Americans need to have a hard talk about racism. Politicians and pundits convene town hall meetings. Television and radio invite people like me to offer an account of the crisis. And we find ourselves, all of us — once again — as if we were in this eternally recurring tragedy, participating in the traditional theater of American racial politics. Liberals bleed sentimentality. Conservatives demand personal responsibility. Rarely, if ever, does something significant come of it all. We always return to business as usual.

We often refuse to tell each other the truth when we talk about racism in this country. Calls for unity protect a kind of contrived innocence.

These conversations fail, in part, because of the bad faith of those who participate in them. We often refuse to tell each other the truth when we talk about racism in this country. Calls for unity protect a kind of contrived innocence. And, for some, that’s more important than facts and truth.

Eddie Glaude, Jr. was raised in the Deep South, in Moss Point, Mississippi, and still remembers the Ku Klux Klan burning a cross at the fairground. He’s now a professor of religion and African-American studies at Princeton University, where he also chairs the Center for African-American Studies. His third book is Democracy in Black.

Full story … 

Related:

11 Common Ways White Folks Avoid Taking Responsibility for Racism in the US, Robin DiAngelo, AlterNet / Everyday Feminism

  • A structural understanding recognizes racism as a default system that institutionalizes an unequal distribution of resources and power between white people and people of color. This system is historic, taken for granted, deeply embedded, and it works to the benefit of whites.
  • Related: From the Archives | The Bandwagon of Hate: America’s Cancer

The movement will not be criminalized.

http://cdn.billmoyers.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/takingaboutrace_606x154b.jpg

  • Alton Sterling - just like with Tanisha Anderson and countless others - lost their lives after police were called. We have no other choice than to be more vigilant than ever - not only in our resistance, but in our commitment to building an abolitionist future in our everyday lives. We have to be unyielding in our right to resist, and brave, imaginative, and bold enough to interrogate all the ways in which we don't have to rely on police; we have to increasingly rely on, love, support, and protect each other. Our lives depend on it.
  • Related: From the Archives | The Bandwagon of Hate: America’s Cancer

Janae Bonsu, People's World

http://www.peoplesworld.org/assets/Uploads/polieshootings530x310.jpg

Photo: Riot police arrest a nurse protesting peacefully in Baton Rouge.  |  Max Becherer/AP

July 18, 2016 | There is a particular impact on the psyche that the consistent exposure to the extrajudicial executions of Black bodies has, which is that it leaves me either traumatized or numb. Neither is okay. I've been trying to make sense of the implications of the past week's chain of events for the movement, particularly when it comes to criminalizing resistance.

One thing that the murders of the past week have reaffirmed is everyday community members' right to capture and share executions by police through their own mobile devices without questionable interference or tampering from police departments. In addition to Black women's survival instincts, Diamond Reynold's quick thinking to livestream the interaction in Minnesota on Facebook points to this ability. It demonstrates an understanding that if we aren't our own reporters and crusaders, no one else will be.

Janae Bonsu is an activist, organizer, and scholar, serving as the National Public Policy Chair of BYP100 and Next Leader at the Institute of Policy Studies. 

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From the Archives | The Bandwagon of Hate: America’s Cancer, Odysseus Ward, Angry Humanist

So here I ask that each of us pull our heads out of those fluffy and, mostly white, clouds of privilege and see the world our choices have created. Stop supporting the status quo with silence and quick indictments of the disenfranchised. Stop changing the subject. Stop complaining about our hurt feelings. Stop listening to everyone except the people who are suffering. We either challenge the system and our long held perceptions of the people it harms or do nothing, and thus, contribute to the collapse.

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